What helps create a truly meaningful brand? A flawlessly articulated purpose? A killer logo? A leadership team that really understands the value of brand? Complete internal alignment? Oftentimes, the interplay of many different brand elements work together to create cohesive and lasting meaning. But one element that is gaining value in the world of branding is personalization.
Right now, personalization is “in” with brands. Mass consumption and mass production are becoming things of the past. These days, brands that matter and resonate with people are the ones that feel like they’re authentically made and designed just for you. It’s the age of personalization.
In marketplaces crowded with new technologies, ripe with innovation, and full of competition, personalization has become one of the most important ways to differentiate. People crave connections, and brands that establish relationships and produce emotionally meaningful connections with their audiences stand out — and win.
Here are five ways brand personalization helps create meaning for brands and drives brand performance.
When people get to customize a product to perfectly fit their need, aesthetic, and lifestyle, the brand gains meaning because they play an active role. Customization increases feelings of uniqueness and individuality, while still allowing all the positive brand associations of brand belonging to arise. For instance, Nike ID allows shoppers to design their own shoes and feel as though they are stylists and designers themselves. The brand is flexible to each individual, while living up to their brand promise of inspiration and innovation. Customization allows brands to become ownable to their audience on an individual level.
In the hectic lives of today’s consumers, time is a precious resource. People want to spend the least amount of time doing things that don’t matter to them so they can dedicate time to doing the things that do matter. People want brands that integrate into their established lifestyle with the minimal effort. For instance, some people choose to do all their grocery shopping online in five minutes via apps like Instacart vs. spending hours at 3 different grocery stores. Other brands focus on personalizing for your well-being by tracking eating, exercise, sleeping, and stress patterns on a single device. Adaptability is a huge component of personalization these days. Brands like the FitBit not only add ease to a user’s life, but adapt to their every move, and push them to make the changes needed to reach personal goals.
In order for a highly personalized brand to function, it has to have an especially cohesive look and feel that grounds the brand. Even though consumers can build there own, unique Nike shoes, all Nike products and brand experiences are still easily recognizable as Nike and branded this way. A strong brand logo is key to this. Oftentimes, established brands, such as Coca-Cola, can pull of fun personalization tactics (like writing names on their cans) and not run the risk of diluting their look and feel.
Personalization campaigns can create a lot of buzz on social media. Because they are personal, people are more likely to share brand experiences on their personal pages. When people get socially engaged with a brand, the brand becomes even more integrated into their own personal brand, and also easily expands into their social network.
In many ways, the trends of personalization are returning to previous times when tailors made clothes one by one. People want things that feel specifically produced for them. Take Harry’s razors for instance. Harry’s delivers their handcrafted razors in packaging that resembles old wood boxes. They are not only easy and convenient, but feel handmade. They feel indulgent in a way that says, “just for you”. People want brands that are making a positive impact in the world and that also make them feel special. Brands that can create products that feel handmade are able to create positive feelings towards the brand.
Personalization, if done right, can be a huge brand asset. It can create deeper meaning, brand relevance, and drive growth. Make sure that personalization is well-connected to your brand strategy so that all aspects of the product development, brand experience, and look and feel are tightly connected. Each brand should use personalization in a personalized way — one that lives up to the brand promise, and is tailored to the way their brand wants to make people feel.
Originally published at www.emotivebrand.com on March 2, 2016.